Kalos Diskos

Kalos Diskos (U.S.A. ethnic) / c. 1955

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Design: Blue and white (silver), the colours associated with Greece, are employed here, along with a variety of type styles and a generous sprinkling of stars to dress up the plain but well-balanced design.

History: Thanks to Lea Dakis for the following updated information: "Kalos Diskos (meaning 'Good Disc') records were recorded in New York between 1952 and 1955, and were produced by my husband, Nicos Pourpourakis (a.k.a. Nick Dakis, photo below), who came to the U.S.A. from Greece around 1949. He orchestrated and played bouzouki* on about 50 of these records, and also performed on the Aristophone label. The song title on the record label you show [above] is The Bouzouki in America.

"He started the Kalos Diskos company with John Miller, owner of the Cosmos Music Store, which sold and distributed the records in the U.S.A., and with Ted Kavourakis, who is the primary singer on the label. Nick is listed as the music director/orchestrator and is the main bouzouki performer. Music being his lifelong professional occupation, he generally worked in night clubs and restaurants. Some of those who accompanied him on various recordings are listed below:

  • Andonis Lorris (band leader), violin
  • Ted Kavourakis, vocals
  • "I have posted on You Tube (under 'Pourpourakis') many songs from the Kalos Diskos label [to see and hear an amazing virtuoso performance by Nick Pourpourakis in Hawaii in the 1970s, click here]. The group actually rehearsed in the basement of Cosmos Music and then did the actual recordings at the NOLA studio.

    "Nick worked in New York, California and Hawaii (for nine years). He and I took a trip to Greece in 2001, when he was interviewed on Greek TV, having achieved fame there for his recordings, even though they were not being sold in Greece. Many collectors consider the Greek songs on Kalos Diskos to be even better than those recorded in Greece; the musicians here in the States recorded Greek songs in their own way and they are quite wonderful to listen to. Some have appeared on Greek CD compilations; many are being sold on Amazon under the 'Kavourakis' name, as of course he was the lead singer. Nick Pourpourakis, however, was a keynote person on this label."

    Label scan courtesy of U.K. musicologist and collector Bill Dean-Myatt.

    In memoriam: Nicos Pourpourakis, d. 2015

    *"The bouzouki is a Greek musical instrument that was brought to Greece in the 1900s by immigrants from Asia Minor, and quickly became the central instrument to the rebetika genre and its music branches. A mainstay of modern Greek music, the front of the body is flat and is usually heavily inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The instrument is played with a plectrum and has a sharp metallic sound, reminiscent of a mandolin but pitched lower" (Wikipedia).

    To hear a great solo live performance by Nicos Pourpourakis in the 1990s, click here.

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